New posh GT grade

for Mazda6

Mazda6 Tourer, 2018, front, action
Mazda6 Tourer, 2018, side
Mazda6 Tourer, 2018, side, static
Mazda6 Tourer, 2018, rear
Mazda6 Tourer, 2018, grille
Mazda6 Tourer, 2018, trim
Mazda6 Tourer, 2018, gear lever
Mazda6 Tourer, 2018, 2.5-litre SKYACTIV-G engine
Mazda6 Tourer, 2018, interior
Mazda6 Tourer, 2018, display screen
Mazda6 Tourer, 2018, instrument panel
Mazda6 Tourer, 2018, boot

THERE'S a fresh look to the Mazda6 with upgrades inside and out and a new flagship model in both saloon and estate body styles.

The GT Sport Nav+ becomes the 25-model range topper and it takes the Mazda6 into the premium league.

It's fully equipped, dressed to impress and sees the introduction to the UK of the new 2.5-litre, 194ps SKYACTIV petrol engine mated to a six-speed auto box.

It also comes at a premium price starting at £30,795 for the Mazda6 saloon and £31,695 for the estate.

That said, it lacks for little and the trim grade that takes the Mazda6 through the £30,000 barrier for the first time, has a spruced up interior worthy of the price.

There's leather seats, Japanese Sen wood inserts in the dash and on the doors, an eight-inch display screen and an instrument panel that includes a TFT panel as well as a head-up display that projects information directly on to the windscreen.

Driver aids are comprehensive and include automatic cruise control as well as rear cross traffic alerts and a lane keeping assist function.

The new 2.5-litre engine joins the existing 2.0-litre SKYACTIV petrol engines also available in the Mazda6 which have 145 and 165ps on tap while 2.2-litre diesels which have 150 and 184ps will be coming on stream in the new models later in the year.

At 8.1 seconds 0 to 60 the normally aspirated 2.5 block is the quickest of the bunch with the estate model we tried topping out at 139mph.

Although it comes with cylinder deactivation and stop/start to help on the economy front, at some 1.6 tonnes it is 100kg heavier than the 2.0-litre models and that tells.

Officially the new GT Sport Nav+ estate is rated at 41.5mpg with emissions of 156g/km but the best we could average was 36 to the gallon.

A similar run in a 165ps 2.0-litre manual saloon found the car to feel a little more nimble and it averaged a creditable 44 to the gallon - marginally better than the 43.5mpg Mazda quotes.

Nevertheless, the newcomer is nicely refined to drive and has no bad manners with the auto box working smoothly. Paddle shifters are fitted for manual operation and the changes are rapid.

There's also a drive mode selector which can be used to switch the car into sports mode and the difference is noticeable when it comes to performance.

On the outside the new Mazda6 line up has had a subtle but effective makeover with changes to the grille design, new lights all round and the exhaust nacelles have been moved slightly more outbound on the body.

The effect is to make the car even more sleeker and in either body shape it remains one of the best looking cars around, especially in Mazda's trademark Soul Red paint finish - an £800 extra - but now enhanced to give it even more lustre.

While the cabin has been cleaned up to make it look swish there has been no change in overall size and the car remains a practical five seater.

Boot space is unchanged which sees the estate having 552 litres of space available, extending to 1,664 litres with the rear seats folded.

The estate we tried also came with a different colour nappa leather - a £200 extra but worth every penny - and all in all tipped the scales at £32,695.

With the 2.5-litre engine it is auto only although a manual version in GT Sport Nav+ trim will be available with the diesel engine priced from £30,885 in the saloon or £31,785 for the estate. Automatic transmissions on the diesel cost another £1,800.

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